It really is more of a blessing to give than to receive, and Jesus wept. Those two phrases float through my mind in the first moments I awaken, like an airplane pulling a message in morning sky. I roll over to look at the time blurred on my clock. It’s 7:30 on Saturday morning.
This happens to me often, hearing Jesus’ words clearly in those first few moments awakening from slumber, before the busyness of life pushes them below the surface, swirling like murky dishwater down the drain. But today, I’m slowing for Sabbath. Those words brew as I linger on the pillow.
I realize it only takes two words to know that Jesus understands me.
I pick the small grocery cart on purpose. We’re only buying what we need during Lent. I hadn’t planned on going to the grocery store and fighting weekend crowds, until I realized I had no plans for dinner. I only need one bottle of root beer for the recipe but I have to buy six. And the cart is suddenly full, top to bottom, when I check out.
The man in front of me pushes his bag of rice and lesser cuts of meat wrapped in cellophane up further on the conveyor belt, making room as I swallow the guilt, laying out the muffins I don’t really need. He wears a white sweater embroidered with golfers on the chest underneath a tired black coat, sleeves below his fingers, tentative eyes shielded by a ball cap. I notice kinky grays dotting his hairline, how he’s sneaking a sideways glance at my cart, avoiding eye contact.
Maybe you should give him a bottle of root beer, I hear myself think. Just like those phrases I heard earlier on my pillow.
“Do you have your Food Lion card,” the cashier asks him leaning her chest into the buttons. His almond shaped, pink nails curl around the familiar yellow card faded to dirty mustard, worn down white on the edges.
“That will be $10.38,” she says. And he swipes a credit card through the kiosk.
“It says insufficient funds,” the cashier reads through her glasses tilting her head down to see. Momentarily silent, he leans over and whispers that he just used it next door, then rifles through the bag deciding which item from the four to put back.
Now I know it’s not root beer that he needs.
“How about this,” I say wisking my card through the kiosk, “I’ll pay for your groceries.” And he stops what he’s doing to get a closer look at me.
“I didn’t ask you to do that,” he says quietly.
“You didn’t ask me, I want to do it,” I reply grabbing his bulky right arm while patting it. And now he’s mumbling something about washing my car. “Oh no, this is a free gift, you don’t have to earn it,” I tell him, “enjoy it.”
As I look up to see two women wiping tears from their eyes thanking me repeatedly and smiling, I turn back to him and say it again. It’s a free gift. And then I realize, it only takes two words to know Jesus understands our plight. How an interruption of a grocery trip is an opportunity to be wonderstruck. That it really is more of a blessing to give than to receive.
When have you taken a risk and been wonderstruck by God in the process?
Today Duane Scott and I are launching a book club, co-hosting a discussion on Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg on our blogs. Link up your posts on finding the wonder of God in the everyday (they’ll show up on both our sites) and join the discussion in the comments and on our Facebook page throughout the week, Redemptions Beauty Book Club.
BOOK CLUB SCHEDULE
April 3: Chapter 000 – 001
April 10: Chapter 002-003
April 17: Chapter 004-005
April 24: Chapter 006-007
May 1: Chapter 008-009
May 8: Chapter 010-Final Thoughts
Every Monday in April, I’ll be giving away a copy of Wonderstruck to one lucky person who leaves a comment at Living the Story, my column at BibleDude.net.
Linking with Emily for Imperfect Prose.